WINNIPEG - The couple that owns a popular Manitoba wedding venue says they’re permanently closing their doors after welcoming nearly half a million guests in the span of nearly four decades. Hitch’n Post Ranch owners Kyle and Louise Anderson made the announcement on social media as they held back tears, remembering their 37 years in the family business.
They say as many as 400 people have been married on their picturesque eight-acre property since 1984. The ranch is located in Grosse Isle, MB, a 13-minute drive northwest of Winnipeg. The Andersons had worked closely with the Prairie Dog Central Railway, which offered guests private train rides, and the option of having the train “held up by desperadoes on horseback, reminiscent of the old west.”
Kyle says, despite new public health orders taking effect this weekend that lift many restrictions, the COVID-19 pandemic has already taken an unbearable tole. He explains they saw incredible success for 35 years, but the wedding industry was among those hardest hit by pandemic restrictions.
Louise says the 2020 wedding season had been shaping up to be one of their busiest years ever. “We gave everything we had in 2019 to make that happen,” she says. “It’s pretty deflating when that gets pulled out from under you.” As pandemic numbers worsened, the restrictions came — and kept coming. “We can’t handle 16 to 17 months of these lockdowns,” Kyle says. “It killed us.”
But the Andersons plan to end off their year with a bang. “We have one more season left in us,” Louise says. “We do have our current couples — We’re still here for you guys.”
The couple says once this season is over, they’ll be concentrating on other business endeavours, but will continue to advocate for the wedding industry.